When a small city embarks on the challenge of planning for sustainable urban mobility, then ambition, vision and clarity are essential tools to show people how their quality of life can be improved. Klaipeda’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) bears witness to this, with a convincing combination of excellent scenario analysis, short- and long-term planned actions and realistic modal split objectives.
A port city of just over 150,000 residents, Klaipeda is Lithuania’s third-largest urban area by population. After the country gained independence in 1991, the city experienced rapid and uncontrolled suburbanisation. The opening of the economy led to steady economic growth. Growing urban sprawl led to an increase in car use, a reduction in public transport use, and the neglect of the historic old town and public spaces in residential housing estates – all of which led to a decrease in walking and cycling. However, the city has always had a strong potential for sustainable urban mobility as its structure is linear, with the main attraction points and the most densely populated areas located along one main axis. The development of the Klaipeda’s first SUMP is part of a larger willingness to put sustainable development at the core of the city’s agenda. Other documents, such as the city’s masterplan and its strategic vision, highlight the need to regenerate existing urban areas, keep the city compact, improve the liveability of public spaces and increase the efficiency of the public transport network.
- developing the public transport network;
- promoting non-motorised movement;
- safer and more sustainable car traffic.